The months, weeks, and days leading up to your wedding are some of the happiest, most exciting, and most momentous times in your entire life. But they also come with their own added pressures and stressors that can make it difficult to truly experience the joy and excitement that you should be feeling during this time. Couple this added stress with many other aspects of our life that are stress-inducing—such as your job, family affairs, and societal pressures—and you might find yourself boiling over to the point where your mind and body enter flight or fight mode.
"This kind of stress shows on our body, and can cause irritability, trouble sleeping, anxiety, or weight gain, none of which are necessary when you're planning your wedding," says Jenny Giblin, a clinically trained therapist and health and wellness expert. "There is also a lot involved leading up to the wedding, and so many of us get too wrapped up in our endless to-do lists, instead of taking time for yourself to relax, breathe, and soak in the fact that you're marrying the love of your life, which is an amazing thing." To help you relax and reset in the days leading up to your big day, we asked experts to share the top de-stressing activities they recommend for brides-to-be.
Take time for just yourself.
It can be hard to carve out alone time, especially in the days leading up to your wedding when family and friends are in town to celebrate you. "You are going to be surrounded by a lot of people, so you might not have the same level of alone time that you were used to experiencing," says Giblin. That's why it's important to carve out time to do something for yourself. This doesn't have to be a day-long event—she recommends simply taking an uninterrupted 20-minute bath to remove stress or negative energy.
Working out not only relieves stress and makes you feel better, but it also helps you tap into your body intelligence, explains Sonia Satra, founder and CEO of the mind-body fitness program, Moticise. "Go for a run or to a yoga class, and while you're there, visualize your big day. What do you want out of it? What's going well? What are you excited about? Listen to any new ideas you have," she says. "Movement opens up new channels of creativity in the brain, so you might be surprised with what comes up for you."
Keep a journal.
Taking a few minutes each day to jot down your thoughts, feelings, and emotions during this important time of your life can not only make a wonderful keepsake for the future, but it can also help clear your mind. "The days leading up to a big event can become a whirlwind of to-do lists and emotions, so take a few minutes every day and write it down," suggests Satra. "It can help you understand where some of your emotions are coming from."
There's no time like the present to stop and think about all you have to be grateful for, especially as you enter this wonderful new chapter in your life. Satra suggests making it a habit to acknowledge and celebrate all you have, including the people who matter most to you—your significant other, your family, and your friends. "The more grateful you are, the more you open your mind and your heart to new and exciting things," she says.
"Meditating for just three to five minutes a day can change your life," says Giblin. She recommends sitting down, putting on a relaxing song, and breathing slowly and deeply. "One easy breathing technique that you can do anytime, anywhere is to breathe in for three to four seconds and exhale, doubling that amount, so breathing out for six to eight seconds," she says. "As you breathe in, feel your stomach rise up and as you exhale, feel it fall back down."
Under pressure, adrenaline and cortisol levels rise and you may begin to feel stressed, however, Aimee Bernstein, a psychotherapist, executive coach, mindfulness-in-action teacher, and the author of Stress Less Achieve More, points out the concept of "what comes up must come down." "A simple trick for staying out of your head and rooted in the present is to imagine you have thick, wide, heavy elephant feet, which are deeply connected to the ground," she says. "When you walk with elephant feet it will slow you down and relax you. The more you practice this, the more it will become second nature."